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Climate Change Basics: Issues and Impacts for Boating


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State Climatologist David Zierden presented Climate Change Basics: Issues and Impacts for Boating to the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators on September 9, 2008

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Climate Change Basics: Issues and Impacts for Boating

  1. 1. Climate Change Basics: Issues and Impacts for Boating National Association of State Boating Law Administrators September 10, 2008 David F. Zierden Florida State Climatologist Center for Ocean Atmospheric Prediction Studies The Florida State University
  2. 2. What is a State Climatologist? <ul><li>Originally a NOAA program until 1973 </li></ul><ul><li>States urged to appoint their own SC </li></ul><ul><li>Most states made it a faculty appointment at the land grant university </li></ul><ul><li>Title transferred to FSU after a number of years </li></ul><ul><li>Appointed by the department Chair </li></ul><ul><li>MOU with partners at NOAA NWS and NCDC </li></ul><ul><li>Office certified by the American Association of State Climatologists </li></ul>
  3. 3. Enjoying Boating
  4. 4. Introduction
  5. 5. “ Climate Change” versus “Global Warming” <ul><li>Climate change is ongoing and has many causes, both natural and man-made. </li></ul><ul><li>Natural causes: </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in solar intensity </li></ul><ul><li>Eccentricity in the earth’s orbit and “wobbles” </li></ul><ul><li>Vegetation, albedo changes </li></ul><ul><li>Volcanic eruptions </li></ul><ul><li>Coupled ocean/atmospheric cycles </li></ul><ul><li>Man-made causes: </li></ul><ul><li>Urbanization </li></ul><ul><li>Land use changes (irrigation of semi-arid areas, draining wetlands) </li></ul><ul><li>Aerosols </li></ul><ul><li>Greenhouse gases </li></ul><ul><li>“ Global warming” specifically refers to a general warming of the planet due the anthropogenic increase in greenhouses gases. </li></ul><ul><li>Unfortunately, “climate change” is now misconstrued as the same as “global warming.” </li></ul>
  6. 6. Climate change is a contentious issue… <ul><li>Pro - Global Warmin </li></ul><ul><li>Charlie Christ (FL), Ted Kulongoski (OR) </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental groups </li></ul><ul><li>Hollywood </li></ul><ul><li>Liberal media </li></ul><ul><li>Scientists </li></ul><ul><li>IPCC </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. James Hansen (NASA) </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Kevin Trenberth (NCAR) </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Tom Karl (NCDC) </li></ul><ul><li>Perceived Skeptics: </li></ul><ul><li>Rush Limbaugh </li></ul><ul><li>George Bush </li></ul><ul><li>Big oil, big industry </li></ul><ul><li>Conservative media </li></ul><ul><li>Scientists </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. William Gray (CSU) </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. John Christy (UAH) </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Chris Landsea (NHC) </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr. (UC) </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. James O’Brien (COAPS ) </li></ul>
  7. 7. IPCC 4 Conclusions <ul><li>“ Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Global atmospheric concentrations of CO2, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre-industrial values determined from ice cores spanning many thousands of years.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Most of the observed increase in globally-averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations.” </li></ul><ul><li>- IPCC 4 Summary for Policy Makers </li></ul><ul><li>Criticisms: </li></ul><ul><li>politicized process </li></ul><ul><li>improper review </li></ul><ul><li>understates the importance of other natural and man-made forcings </li></ul><ul><li>inadequate communication of uncertainties </li></ul>
  8. 8. Florida Climate Center on Climate Change O’Brien Zierden
  9. 9. New Emphasis on Climate Change <ul><li>Growing interest in climate change issues: </li></ul><ul><li>IPCC 4 and Al Gore </li></ul><ul><li>New administration in Florida </li></ul><ul><li>Changing markets - biofuels and ethanol production </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon credits and markets </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability </li></ul>“ Governor Crist is passionate about government leading by example … The three Executive Orders represent the Governor ’ s commitment to addressing global climate change. ”
  10. 10. Natural Causes of Climate Change
  11. 11. Milankovitch Cycles Changes in the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit, obliquity, and precession of the equinoxes are the main triggers to the 100,000 year ice age cycles.
  12. 12. Sunspot Cycles The number of sunspots varies on an 11-year cycle. High numbers of sunspots correspond to increased solar irradiance and solar winds.
  13. 13. Coupled air-sea interactions <ul><li>The El Nino/La Nina cycle is the predominant mode of year to year climate variability. Other modes include: </li></ul><ul><li>Pacific decadal oscillation </li></ul><ul><li>North Atlantic oscillation </li></ul><ul><li>Atlantic multidecadal oscillation </li></ul>
  14. 14. Greenhouse Gas Concentrations
  15. 15. The “Greenhouse” Effect
  16. 16. Atmospheric Composition and radiative Absorption
  17. 17. Historical Greenhouse Gas Concentrations
  18. 18. Global and Regional Temperature
  19. 19. Reconstructed Temperature Records “ the Holocene, which has already lasted 11,000 years, is, by far, the longest stable warm period recorded in Antarctica during the past 420,000 years,” - Petit, et. al., 1999
  20. 20. Modern Day Temperatures
  21. 21. Southeast Temperature Trends
  22. 22. Rural Weather Station <ul><li>Town is located to the northeast of Eglin AFB, a large expanse of undeveloped forests. </li></ul><ul><li>Surrounding countryside consists of pastures, farmland, and pine forests. </li></ul><ul><li>Station located at Showel Farms, 3 miles to the east of the city. </li></ul><ul><li>Walton County population is very low at around 40,000. </li></ul><ul><li>USHCN station (unadjusted data) </li></ul>
  23. 23. Rural Weather Station
  24. 24. Small Town <ul><li>Small Town surrounded by pastures, citrus groves, pine stands, and lowlands. </li></ul><ul><li>Station located at the water treatment plant inside the city limits. </li></ul><ul><li>Arcadia has grown very little in the last 40 years and only has a population of around 10,000. </li></ul><ul><li>USHCN station (unadjusted data) </li></ul>
  25. 25. Urbanization
  26. 26. Global and Regional Precipitation
  27. 27. Global Precipitation Trends
  28. 28. Southeast Precipitation Trends
  29. 29. Other Possible Outcomes with Rainfall <ul><li>Rainfall has become more extreme (larger events) in the last 50 years (Karl, et al.) </li></ul><ul><li>As temperatures warm, warm air holds more moisture and rainfall should increase. </li></ul><ul><li>We don’t know exactly when, where, how much this increase will be. </li></ul><ul><li>Warmer climate may also lead to more extreme rainfall and extended droughts. </li></ul><ul><li>How a changing climate will effect lakes, rivers, coastal areas is highly uncertain. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Climate Change and Hurricanes
  31. 31. Hurricanes and Global Warming? Emanuel (Nature, 2005) – Hurricane power has increased in recent decades due warmer sea surface temperatures part to global warming Webster, et al. (Science, 2005) – The number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes have doubled in the last 30 years, due to global warming.
  32. 32. Atlantic Hurricanes
  33. 33. <ul><li>“ Over the long term the effects of changes in society dwarf the effects of any projected changes in tropical cyclones…” </li></ul><ul><li>“… claims of linkages between global warming and hurricane impacts are premature…” </li></ul><ul><li>- Pielke, et. al., 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Thus large, long-term ‘trends’ in tropical cyclone frequency are primarily manifestations of increased monitoring capabilities and likely not related to any real change in the climate in which they develop.” </li></ul><ul><li>- Landsea, 2007 </li></ul>
  34. 34. Sea Level Rise
  35. 35. What if sea level rose 6 meters? Image courtesy of Environmental Studies Laboratory, University of Arizona
  36. 36. Causes of Sea Level Rise <ul><li>Global sea level can rise from two primary causes: </li></ul><ul><li>Warming of the oceans </li></ul><ul><li>Melting of ice caps and glaciers </li></ul>
  37. 37. Historic sea level rise <ul><li>Sea level measurements from 23 highest quality tidal stations around the world. </li></ul><ul><li>Estimates of sea level rise from 1 mm/yr to 2 mm/yr. </li></ul><ul><li>Satellite measurements (altimeters) since 1992 indicate a rise of around 3mm/yr. </li></ul><ul><li>IPCC third assessment report stated &quot;No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20 th century has been detected.&quot; </li></ul>
  38. 38. Local sea level measurements Pensacola 2.14 mm/yr Key West 2.27 mm/yr
  39. 39. Tropical/Mid-latitude Glaciers
  40. 40. Arctic Sea Ice &quot;The winds causing this trend in ice reduction were set up by an unusual pattern of atmospheric pressure that began at the beginning of this century, ” - NASA Scientis
  41. 41. Figure 4.19
  42. 42. Climate Change and Ecosystems
  43. 43. CO 2 Causes Acidification <ul><li>Increased atmospheric CO 2  increased oceanic pCO 2  lower pH </li></ul><ul><li>Measured or calculated pCO 2 & pH at: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ESTOC = European Station for Time-series in the Ocean </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HOT = Hawaii Ocean Time-series </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BATS = Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study </li></ul></ul>Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  44. 44. Acidification Alters Calcification <ul><li>Mean calcification rate predicted to decrease up to 30% relative to 1990 (3 IPCC scenarios) </li></ul>Gattuso, et al . 1999. American Zoologist 39: 160–183
  45. 45. Increased Temperature Causes Coral Bleaching Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  46. 46. Sea Level Rise Alters Wetlands NDVI = normalized difference vegetation index Raabe & Stumpf. 1996. USGS Open-file Report 96-35
  47. 47. An Uncertain Future
  48. 48. Uncertain Future <ul><li>Limitations of Climate Models </li></ul><ul><li>The physics of water vapor, clouds, and precipitation are poorly represented. </li></ul><ul><li>Limited spatial resolution </li></ul><ul><li>Climate models have not demonstrated the ability to reproduce the modes of variability seen in the 20 th century. </li></ul><ul><li>Cannot accurately predict regional shifts in temperature or precipitation. </li></ul><ul><li>Coupling between the atmosphere and the ocean, land surface, and ice surfaces is limited. </li></ul>
  49. 49. Global Warming “Myths” <ul><li>“ Throw out the record books, because global warming is raising temperatures in Florida and across the country,” </li></ul><ul><li>- Environment Florida </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;In low-lying areas, anticipated sea-level rise could force water to flow horizontally as much as 400 feet or more inland--flooding shoreline homes and hotels and eroding Florida's famous beaches,&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>- NRDC </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Union of Concerned Scientists predicts a three- to 10-degree Fahrenheit rise in winter low and summer high temperatures for Florida as a whole. Northern Florida, the group says, will suffer the most from loss of soil moisture.” </li></ul>
  50. 50. What do we do? <ul><li>Prevention </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptation/mitigation </li></ul><ul><li>Ignore </li></ul>